Monday, November 15, 2010

Social Networking for the Business Writer: The E-Article Connection

This post continues a series on effective writing in social media. 

Social networking accounts can be great venues for sending readers to your blog posts or other e-articles. Be sure to post a network update or "tweet" for each article of yours that goes online, particularly items that emphasize your professional expertise. You can also send direct messages to those of your fans/friends/connections who have special interest in the article topic.

A word of caution, though: social networking is not an advertising campaign, so don't try to use online articles to launch a sales blitz. Focus at least every other article on some topic besides you. When announcing new products or special programs, concentrate on general newsworthiness rather than on convincing readers to buy; think press release, not advertorial. And put "contact us to learn more" information only at the bottom of the article itself, not in the network update (presumably anyone looking at your social networking account already knows or can easily find out how to reach you, so don't risk appearing pushy by emphasizing the information).

Do link to your social networking profile(s) in the e-article's bio/contact information; interested parties should be able to access full details from either end. (Post a copy of or link to the article--and a link to your profile(s)--on your main website as well.)

In the social networking announcement of your article's publication, concentrate on arousing click-over interest. The article title is frequently enough if it's both intriguing and descriptive; include the subtitle as well, if you can. If the full two-part title exceeds "tweet" or other space allotments, consider what best fits the "intriguing and descriptive" requirement; where an article is listed under a series title (as this one is), the "end section" may well be the better choice. Alternatively, you can quote the article's opening sentence, or create a "thesis statement." In any case, don't forget to include a direct link to the article!

Remember the basic rules of e-articles: short paragraphs, short overall length, relevant links, and strong visual elements.

Most social networking accounts also offer opportunities to publish "articles" directly on the network; prime examples are LinkedIn discussions and Q & As, which will be the subjects of my next two posts.

Other posts in this series:
Social Networking for the Business Writer: Profiles
Social Networking for the Business Writer: Network Updates
Social Networking for the Business Writer: "Cold Call" E-Messages

Social Networking for the Business Writer: LinkedIn Discussions
Social Networking for the Business Writer: LinkedIn Q & A
Social Networking for the Business Writer: Top-Ten List

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